Archive for the Wine & Food Category

Summer is here!

Posted in Wine & Food on June 17, 2017 by darmyers

Wine Summer

Here in Canada,  nothing is quite anticipated like the first day of summer.   Maybe it’s because we live in Canada and the winters tend to be a little long.  This coming Wednesday, is not only Wine Wednesday, but it is the official kick-off to Summer.  What does Summer look like to you?  Getting together with friends on the patio sipping wine, barbecues (with wine of course), and a full list of activities that somehow include the outdoors.  Let me tell you about some of my favourite Summer time wines.

007

I love  Rose wine.  It’s perfect for Summer.  It’s a great appetizer wine, it’ a great sipping wine, and it’s very food friendly overall.   The one I’m featuring today is a Canadian wine from Nova Scotia, Lightfoot and Wolfville.  I believe this is Nova Scotia’s newest winery and only started producing wine a couple of years ago.  The Lightfoot name goes back eight generations in the Wolfville area of Nova Scotia, and the name Lightfoot and Wolfville is meant to reflect the people and the place.  Their  Rose wine is made from delicious Pinot Muenier, and is crisp with beautiful berry flavors.   This is a staple in my wine rack since I first tried it last Summer.

Ruffino 1

Summer is also a great time for Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine.  I picked this Ruffino Prosecco up for the first time last weekend.   I wanted to make Italian spritzes for the ladies in my apartment building .  I discovered the wonderful summer drink spritz when I was in Rome.   Made with orange bitters Prosecco and  sparkling water .

Italy 2017 059 This Prosecco by Ruffino had gorgeous  citrus notes and it was fresh and lively on the palate.  This is great all by itself or pair it with cheese, hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie boards, and in Sangria or Spritz’s.  Prosecco is very versatile and tends to be A LOT less expensive than Champagne.

Italy 2017 354

Summer doesn’t mean I put away the red wine.  For new readers, you may not realize I am the grilling Queen of Nova Scotia.  I love barbecued foods, and I love doing the barbecuing.  I do everything from vegetables to chicken wings, to ribs, and as the picture above shows, sometimes all of those things in one night.    This is an actual picture of my barbeque one night last week    Needless to say I fed a few people I work with at the radio station.  So with barbecue foods as a staple, I don’t kiss the red wines good-bye over the Summer.  I mean, what’s a steak without red wine.   And a steak is what I enjoyed last night with this beauty and my new wine of the week ..

IMG_1072.JPG

My steak had a 3 oepper blend so many red wines would have done the trick .   I could have chosen a Cabernet Sauvignon or a spicy Syrah!   Instead I chose an old Vine Zinfandel .   It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed an old vine Zinfandel,  I practically lived on them last summer.   Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 91 points  and called it a great wine value.  All the old vine Zinfandels tend to be very fruit forward with hints of pepper and spice.  Perfect for barbeque foods and it is my favourite wine to have with baby back ribs.

Wine Saturday 2

Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Advertisements

BBQ & Wine

Posted in Wine & Food on April 29, 2017 by darmyers

BBQ & Wine

Have you got that barbecue fired up for the season yet?  It took us a while, but the temperatures are finally warming up and the smell of barbecue is in the air.  I love to barbecue and do it all winter long.  But for my seasonal barbecue loving friends, this blog is for you.  In my opinion, nothing goes with barbecue food quite like wine.

Image result for great barbecue wines

It’s always important that when barbecuing, the job is much more fun if you have a glass of wine with it.  I never barbecue without wine.  Kind of an unwritten rule in my house.   And if it’s beef or pork you are thinking of grilling this weekend, have I got a new wine for you to try.

002

I love good wine, I love great wine.  But I also love finding very good wines at great prices.  And for this week, this interesting bottle takes the prize.   I bought this wine to share with friends ladt Friday night.  The Wine Men of Gotham not only sparked a great conversation because of the label and the name, people loved it once they tried it.  A  Shiraz Grenache blend out of Australia, Gotham Wines is fairly new, only being around since 2004.  This wine is only $15 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, and worth every penny.  Named after the city of Gotham, because like Gotham the wine is dark, rich, complex and mysterious.  Worth a try I think for $15.

Image result for great barbecue wines

I have to share a great white wine as well for my white wine loving friends and readers.  I understand when looking for wine pairings with BBQ food, many of the choices are red.   Barbecue food & wine pairings are not just for red wine lovers.  There is a tremendous amount of white wine that just loves the grill.

Conundrum

Here’s one of my favorite white wines for grilled food, Conundrum.  It’s hard to believe this wine has been around for 25 years, and I only discovered it about 4 years ago.  It was started by the guy who founded Caymus vineyards, and anyone who knows Caymus knows it’s quality wine.  And what Charlie Wagner used to do is blend wines at the dinner table to go with whatever they were eating!  Can you imagine?  Apparently no one blended wines back in 1972, when Charlie Wagner started doing it, so this was pretty radical.  This wine brings forward delicious flavors of Hawaiian tropical fruit and pear, some of the wine is aged in stainless steel and some of the wine is aged for 10 months in oak.  This leaves a soft palate, but the oak doesn’t overpower the wine.

And now for my wine of the week….

001

Here is my buddy Mike holding up my wine of the week, the Luzon Crianza.  This is from one of the hottest new wineries in Spain and the prices are still fantastic.  This bottle was $22 and is a blend of 4 grapes, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Merlot.  This wine saw between 15 and 20 days on the skins, and this produced a rich flavorful wine that is full-bodied and has lots of character.  I found it to have a really nice plush texture on the palate and with hints of balsamic, you can understand how it would go great with grilled meat.   A great wine to go with hearty stews and of course barbecued meat.

Wine glass broken again

Well that’s it for me, I hope you have a chance to do some grilling and enjoy a nice new wine with it.  Have a great week everyone, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines I’m Particularly Thankful For!

Posted in Wine & Food on October 9, 2016 by darmyers

wine-fall

This is my favorite long weekend, the Thanksgiving weekend.  I love the cool temperatures and the pretty colors, and I’m always thankful for long weekends.  Here in Canada, this is the weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for some great people in my life, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy some great wines with wonderful family and friends. I have had the opportunity to try some new wines lately and here are a few that stood out for me.

006 Manage a trois botle

I’ve had the Menage a Trois many times before, it’s a great barbecue wine.  Well I tried it’s sister over the past couple of weeks, called Menage a Trois Silk, soft red blend.  It’s called soft red blend because the base is a Pinot Noir and the Pinot is blended with Malbec and Petite Sirah.  This is an easy to drink wine that would also be very food friendly.  Nice soft flavors with floral notes and a bit of spice.   I enjoyed it and it was a very reasonable price.

020

I had a hard time picking my wine of the week this week, because I tried a few new wines and they were wonderfully delicious.  This is one that was a “wine of the week” contender.  The Umberto Cesari Momo Rosso is a delicious blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and it comes in under $20.  Fabulous wine at a fabulous price.  I absolutely loved this wine and it would compliment all those Thanksgiving favorites.

024

This wine not only has a fun name and a fun label, it was fun to drink.  The Exhibitionist is a Merlot from South Australia, and I have to tell you I haven’t had a ton of experience with Australian Merlots.  But I did really enjoy this one.  It comes in at around the $17, so it’s a great little wine at a great price.  Very juicy on the palate and not dominated by oak, which I really liked.  Another great wine for comfort foods, if you like beef stews and lamb – this is your wine.  I recently bought this wine to a gathering of friends in my building and they all loved it as well.

And now its time for my Wine of the Week

003

We go to Chile, for a spectacular wine comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenere and Merlot.  It spent 12 months in French oak, but as we know French oak is very subtle and compliments a well made wine.  This Primus was actually one of the first Meritage style wines produced in Chile.  Some of you may remember Meritage is a wine that is a Bordeaux style of blend, but many vineyards use the word Meritage in Canada and the United States. And when I checked this Chilean wine does have American influence, as winemaker Agustin Huneeus has produced some of the finest Meritage blends in the U.S.  Roasted and barbecued meats and chicken is a great pairing for this wine.  It was a great wine and only $25.  Treat yourself and try this one.

I have been blessed with many things in my life. I am thankful this weekend to each and every one of the readers that takes time from a busy schedule to read my wine blog.  It why I consistently do it every weekend.  And I am thankful for family and friends that make me feel thankful every day.  And of course to this little guy,

007

Leo brings so much joy to my life, that I am very thankful.  Enjoy the weekend, stay safe.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Birthday Wine

Posted in Wine & Food on July 30, 2016 by darmyers

Birthday wine

I had a birthday last week, and when you get to my age, you don’t talk about them a lot.  You do, however, talk about some of the great wine you received as gifts.  A very big thank you to my family and friends, who know me so well.  I am not hard to shop for

Wine shop for

Unfortunately for my waistline, the birthday celebrations lasted 4 nights.  It was great though!  On the night of the actual birthday, I had this Red Blend from my friend Judy.

001

Deep and dark, this red blend is also silky smooth.  It is 46% Zinfandel, 44% Syrah and 10% Petite Sirah, which makes it rich and juicy with a little spice added in.  A fantastic BBQ wine, it was aged 16 months in French oak, so it would go with any meat dish.

010

Owned by the same people who make this beauty, the Cleaver and Renwood Winerys are owned by international vintner, Alejandro P. Bulgheroni,  a family-owned collection of wine estates from around the world.  In addition to Renwood Winery in Amador County, The Cleaver from California, Bodega Vistalba, Tomero and Bodega Argento in Argentina, and Bodega Garzón in Uruguay, they also have properties in France, Italy, and other distinguished wine regions.  They are putting out some fantastic wines.

The next night my friend took me to one of my favorite restaurants in Halifax, the Bicycle Thief.  I enjoyed the spectacular beef tenderloin there, and with the juicy steak, we had a juicy wine.

7 Deadly Zinbs

The 7 Deadly Zins was a spectacular match with my beef tenderloin and my friend’s lamb.  The big bold juicy wine with hickory smoke flavors complimented both dishes very well.

Creme Brule

I’m not much of a cake person myself, so for dessert I chose a creme brulee.  I love creme brulee, and in my opinion, the perfect wine match is one of my favorite Canadian dessert wines.

BENJAMIN_BRIDGE_BOREALIS_ICEWINE_Glass_600

The Borealis from Benjamin Bridge is a wonderful dessert wine, reminding me of a Royal Tokaji.  This wine is made from the Vidal grape here in Nova Scotia, and is the perfect compliment to your favorite sweet dessert.  Picked at the perfect time, when the temperatures hits -10-degrees outside, which is very common here in Eastern Canada.  (Yes, that was not a typo, I said minus 10 degrees)  Gorgeous flavors of apricots and peaches make for one of my favorite dessert wines.  I actually didn’t really appreciate dessert wines until I started taking my Sommelier courses.

If you can’t find this local favorite in your area, try this dessert wine…

Royal tokaji

The Royal Tokaji is heaven in a glass, and is just a fantastic dessert wine.  I actually had this wine on one of my final tasting exams, while doing one of my courses.   It is made in Hungary and the process is very labor intensive, so I tend to be very grateful with every sip.  An amber/gold color and rich apricots and honey on the palate.  I love this wine.

And my wine of the week

004

A great wine at a great value.  The Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from 2012. Chile is putting out some great Cabernet Sauvignon wines and this one is no exception.  I loved the $20 price tag, but loved the wine in the bottle even more.  Given a 91 Point rating by Wine Spectator, this publication also calls it a ‘smart buy’ and featured it as the wine of the week.  Rich and well-spiced with notes of black pepper, here is another great steak wine.

Wine Birthday

Well that’s it for me for this week, I survived another birthday.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

BBQ Season Wines!

Posted in Wine & Food on May 28, 2016 by darmyers

Wine BBQ

Every year about this time I do a wine blog on some of my favorite wine pairings with BBQ food.  I BBQ all year long, and people at work call me the ‘Queen of the BBQ Grill’, as I even BBQ at least twice per week throughout the winter.  This time of the year, it’s even more.  I would rather cook on an outdoor grill than in the kitchen any day of the week.  Since the last blog on BBQ pairings, I’m always trying new wines, and sometimes I think, this would be perfect with grilled ____, (fill in the blank).  So here are some of the new wines I have tried in the past year that would be perfect BBQ fare.

010  001

Personally, Zinfandel is my go-to BBQ wine.  I love it, especially with things like BBQ ribs and pork chops.  The Renwood Zinfandel on the left is a great one I have discovered in the past year.  This vineyard specializes in the Zinfandel grape, and they do it extremely well.  Cherry flavors, a bit of cola on the palate and vanilla make for an easy to drink wine whether you’re at the BBQ cooking, or enjoying the fruits of your labors.

The wine on the right is the Cleaver Red Blend which is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah and as the label says ‘is made for meat’.  This is a great rib wine as well, but because it’s so rich and full-bodied will pair well with any meat you put on the grill including a juicy steak.  The Syrah adds a nice spice to the palate  which pairs well if you put black pepper on your meat as I do.

001

Speaking of steak, here’s a new discovery I have made in the past year, and thought, this would be heavenly with a steak.  The Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon from California leaps from the glass onto the palate with chocolate and mocha flavors, however they are very subtle and distinct.  I don’t want to give you the impression it would be like the manipulated coffee flavors of a few South African Pinotage wines.  The Layer Cake Cabernet has great structure, rich dark fruit but it’s very smooth.  This is a great wine in my opinion, and a great steak wine.

Burger week 3

Love a burger done on the grill?  Me too!

008

Check out the Robert Mondavi Heritage Red Blend.  Primarily Syrah and Merlot, it also has the added flavor of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.  Lots of flavor at a price under $20.  This is a great wine.  And a great burger wine.

White wine drinker?  Don’t think you have to drink red to pair perfectly with BBQ fare.  There are lots of great options on the white side.

Tidal Bay

Most of the vineyards in Nova Scotia put out a specialty wine called Tidal Bay, designed by the Wine Association of Nova Scotia, that is made for the terroir of Nova Scotia.  Launched in 2012, they are all slightly different, however they are truly fascinating.  They are bright, crisp and fresh styles of wine that pair perfectly with seafood.  And although I’m allergic to seafood I love them as a Summer patio wine and they are fantastic appetizer wines.

And if you love white wine and want a pairing with a big juicy steak, hamburger, or even ribs…. how about this one

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 1c97e-ribs

The Rodney Strong Chardonnay is classic California Chardonnay.  Fresh and fruit forward, it boasts apple and bright lemon flavors with toasty oak from the barrel aging.  That barrel aging brings with it notes of brown spice and vanilla.   Those brown spice and vanilla flavours tend to complement things like steak and ribs .  It’s a great wine.

And my wine of the week….is an Italian beauty

006

The Corvo Rosso Red IGT is a classic Sicilian wine.  This wine is extremely versatile and would pair well with any BBQ fare, but it goes beyond BBQ.  This is an easy to drink Rosso that this vineyard has been making since 1824, and with that kind of experience they have done it right.    As I was enjoying this wine I had visions of some of my favorite cheeses, it’s a great cheese wine.  Think pizza too!   Oak barrel aging brings a roundness and smoothness to the glass, but the lingering finish really made the wine for me.  This is a great wine overall, and how this wine sells for about $18, I’ll never know.  But it’s one to keep around.

Wine BBQ 2

Sunshine and temperatures in the 20’s… that’s what this weekend calls for.  I don’t know about you, but I will definitely be firing up my grill, and there will be glass of wine in my hand.  Please feel free to share your favourite BBQ wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Wines of South Africa

Posted in Wine & Food on May 14, 2016 by darmyers

 

003

Last weekend the Atlantic Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers held their Gala dinner and featured wines from South Africa.  I have a confession to make.  Normally I don’t walk by the South African section of the wine store, I run past it.  Some of my experiences have been less than palate friendly, and because of that I had a tendency to shy away from this section.

037

This is Alba, from South Africa, and she brought some wonderful wines to this dinner.  I was so impressed with her passion and her knowledge on the topic of wine from this country.   One of the things I found very interesting is that South Africa has been making wine for about 500 years, but has only been exporting it less than 30 years.

Gorgeous

For the reception, we had the Graham Beck Gorgeous Pinot Noir Chardonnay and I think Gorgeous is the perfect word to describe this fun rose wine.  It’s a beautiful combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, had a great acidity and was easy to drink.  The flavors of orange blossom really stood out for me, and this was a great wine to start the evening.

042

Also speaking was Will Predhomme from Ontario.   This guy knows his wine.  Will holds the Advanced certificate through the Court of Master Sommelier, is an educator at the University of Guelph and is making his own wine under the North Shore Project label in Ontario, as well as Pearce Predhomme Wines in Oregon.  Impressive!

Charcuterie Board primal  038

For the first course we had a charcuterie board with an amazing mustard, and this was paired with the 2015 Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc.  This was a fantastic expression of a Sauvignon Blanc, and my friend Rayell’s favorite wine of the evening.   It was very similar to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that has mineral flavors and notes of grapefruit.  Personally I also picked up really subtle tropical fruit flavors that made the wine for me.  This was a great wine with the charcuterie board and a great appetizer wine over all.

Cedarberg Bukettraube   Salad

The wine served with the salad was my absolute favorite wine of the evening, and I can honestly say I knew very little about the grape before this evening.  It is the Cederberg Bukkettraube and it sells here for just $20 a bottle.  I loved this white wine.  Apparently it is a rare cultivator with only 77 hectares left in the world.  It was truly an explosion of flavor on the palate, but extremely delicate at the same time.  This would be a great wine with spicy food as well.  Alba was telling us this wine would go great with Thai food, other spicy curry dishes, and I believe her.  This wine had great acidity, and at the same time it was very smooth and lots of gentle apricot flavors.  This will be a staple in my wine rack this summer.

046 Diesel

For the delicious main course, they served a beef shortrib & duck leg confit samosa.  Now, although the samosa wasn’t my favorite, the beef shortribs were spectacular.  And served with this hearty beef dish was my favorite Pinotage wine, Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage.  The unique label features a remarkable drawing of the winemakers canine companion, who happened to be named Diesel.   If you have had a ‘manipulated’ Pinotage in the past, and didn’t like it, (I didn’t either), try this.  It is not manipulated, it is Pinotage done right.  Rich dark cherry flavors with distinctive oak flavors, this Pinotage saw 21 months in new French oak barrels.  Not surprising the oak plays a big part in the flavors of this wine.  This wine is very well structured and can tackle any meat you serve with it.

039   034

Darlene and Rayell

I had a great time connecting with people that I took my Sommelier courses with, and people I haven’t seen in a while.  It was a fantastic time with fantastic people.

I hope you give these wonderful South African wines a try, they may surprise you as much as they surprised me.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

My Favorite Burger Wines

Posted in Wine & Food on April 2, 2016 by darmyers

Burger week

Last week Halifax celebrated Burger week, and I joined in the celebrations in a couple of ways.  I did go out and enjoy some burgers, and I also cooked a few burger concoctions myself for the staff of the radio station.  I love burgers because they are so versatile, and they also pair beautifully with wine.

Burger week 3 Burger week4

Burgers and wine are one of those matches made in heaven.  Now you might be thinking because of the red meat, red wine is an automatic.  I have a couple of great red wine matches, but don’t discount the white.

Conundrum

Here is a great burger white wine.  One of my favorites.  Out of California comes the Conundrum white.  The aromas of this wine alone will take your breath away.  Juicy aromas of passion fruit, tropical fruits and peach.  And all those flavors follow the wine to the palate.  This is a rich full-bodied white wine that is a blend of Chardonnay, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier…. this is a wine with lots of layers.  There is a hint of oak, but I don’t feel it overpowers the wine in any way, so for my friends who don’t like Oak this wine could be worth a try

Double Decker wine

This Double Decker California Red Blend is another great burger wine.  My apologies for the wine stained  label on my bottle LOL     I guess I was super excited to try this one   Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Barberra brings to the table a full-bodied wine and lots of juicy flavors.  Juicy wine, juicy burger, what’s not to love.   In my opinion a juicy wine is one where the fruit just shines.  Flavors of plums and black cherries is a great compliment to anything barbecued, especially the burger.

Burger week5 Wolf Blass Shiraz

I like to add Sriracha sauce to my hamburger meat before I put it on the grill.  I like a burger with a bit of spice.  So it probably won’t come as any surprise that I like a bit of spice in the wine.  Nothing brings a bit of spice to wine like a good Shiraz, and I haven’t had this particular Shiraz since I left Newfoundland, because my local liquor store doesn’t carry this one.  It’s too bad, it’s a beautiful wine.  Inky purple colors with flavors of chocolate and eucalyptus with a slight herbal finish.  The Grey Label Series from Wolf Blass are favorites of mine.  They also make a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon.  They come in around the $40 range, but if you get a chance to try them, treat yourself.

My new wine of the week is ….

002 006

Surprise… it’s a Pinot Noir out of Chile.  I was pleasantly surprised by the body in the wine, and the variety of layers.  Pinot Noir, when not done right, can be wimpy and not have a lot of flavor.  Known as the heartbreak grape, this grape has a very thin skin, which makes it very finicky.  It’s hard to grow, hard to cultivate, but the reason wine-growers still go through hell and back to grow this grape is that once it’s done right, it’s magical.  The Santa Ema Reserve Pinot Noir was done right and the best part… it’s under $22.  This was a medium to full-bodied and had the cherry and strawberry flavors you’d expect in a good Pinot and it had a lasting finish.  That’s what I liked about it.  When Pinot Noir is done right that’s what happens, it lingers.  Santa Ema has been making wine since the 1930’s when Pedro Pavone came to Chile from the Piedmont district of Italy, and Wine Spectator has named them one of the Top 20 Value brands.  This is a great wine, give it a try.

Wine Saturday 2

Wouldn’t be the first time!   However I have a dinner party tonight so I’m really hoping for the opportunity to try a lot of different wines. I will write about them next week  Have a great weekend everyone, thanks for reading.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene